Looking at COVID-19 effects on intimate partner and sexual violence organizations in Canada through a feminist political economy lens: a qualitative study
Michaelsen, Sonia, Elisabeth Nombro, Hervé Djiofack, Olivier Ferlatte, Bilkis Vissandjée, and Christina Zarowsky (2022, juillet)
Canadian Journal of Public Health , 113 | 10 p.
Abstract Objectives Intimate partner violence and sexual violence organizations such as women’s shelters play a crucial role in advancing gender equality in Canada. COVID-19 has challenged how suchorganizations operate. This study explored how intimate partner violence and sexual violence organizations in Canada have been affected by COVID-19 and the consequences on service delivery. Methods We interviewed 17 frontline and management staff from intimate partner violence and sexual violence organizations and programs across Canada, and analyzed the data using thematic analysis and applying a feminist political economy lens. Results We identified the following themes: (1) Adapting; (2) Struggling financially; (3) Resourcefulness; (4) Troubles connecting; (5) Narrowing scope of work; and (6) Burden of care. Conclusion A feminist political economy framework considers the gendered impact of the pandemic and related measures on the workforce. Both the pandemic and measures to control it have affected intimate partner violence and sexual violence organizations in Canada, the staff working in these organizations, and the quality of relationships between staff and clients. Intimate partner and sexual violence organizations in Canada have been chronically underfunded and their predominantly female staff underpaid, affecting their ability to meet the needs of women. The onset of COVID-19 not only worsened these issues but converged witha shift infocus tomorepandemic-relatedtasks,further limiting the scope and reach of organizations. Whether the adaptations, innovations, and perseverance demonstrated by such organizations and staff can tip the balance in favour of more equitable policy and outcomes remains to be seen.